The Big Five is based on many psychologists’ belief that there are five overarching personality traits in all of us: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (O.C.E.A.N.) Each person falls somewhere on a scale for each trait.
Other personality tests tend to type people without allowing for a range or scale. Systems like Myers-Briggs may be less accurate for someone who identifies with two parts of a characteristic; for example, if someone identifies as equal parts introvert and extrovert, Myers-Briggs may seem like it’s boxing them into a type. In cases like this, the Big Five can give a more accurate look at specifically where someone falls on the scale.
Openness is the measure of how open to experience, open-minded, and imaginative an individual is. People who are more open are usually creative, artistic, and willing to try something new. Those who are less open may have difficulty thinking abstractly or accepting change.
Those who are higher in Openness will likely prefer it if communication is direct, honest, and offers new ideas. Those who are lower in Openness will appreciate it if communication is respectful of their personal beliefs, which will allow them to feel comfortable.
Those who are more open generally make great artists, entrepreneurs, and engineers, while those who are less open tend to succeed more as bankers, analysts, and contractors.
Conscientiousness measures the thoughtfulness and organization of a person. Someone who is more conscientious is likely to follow a schedule and follow through on achieving set goals. Someone who is less conscientious may have difficulty staying organized and finishing projects on time.
Those who are higher in Conscientiousness tend to prefer when their time is respected and all thoughts are expressed directly. When communicating with those who are lower in Conscientiousness, understand their need for spontaneity, while holding them accountable to their responsibilities.
Those who are more conscientious are successful freelancers, consultants, and business owners, while those who are less conscientious tend to succeed more with physical labor as firefighters, mechanics, and drivers.
Extroversion is a measure of how outgoing, talkative, and people-oriented someone is. More extroverted people tend to draw energy from others, while less extroverted people, or introverts, usually recharge by spending time alone.
When addressing those who are higher in Extroversion, create connection through casual conversation. Those who are lower in Extroversion, however, generally appreciate it when communication is clear and brief.
People who are more extroverted usually make great actors, counselors, and photographers, while those who are more introverted tend to succeed more as librarians, engineers, and writers.
Agreeableness measures how easily a person connects with others. Those who are more agreeable tend to care deeply about others and enjoy helping those in need. People who are less agreeable are generally more competitive and blunt.
When communicating with those who are higher in Agreeableness, allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to building a personal connection. However, when addressing those who are lower in Agreeableness, be direct when sharing your perspective and remain logical and patient.
Individuals who are more agreeable generally make good therapists, nurses, and teachers, while those who are less agreeably usually do well as accountants, programmers, and scientists.
Neuroticism is a measure of how easily upset or stressed a person is. Individuals who are higher in neuroticism tend to worry easily and be less self-confident. Those who are lower in neuroticism are usually more relaxed and even-tempered.
If someone is higher in Neuroticism, help them to feel safe by being encouraging and supportive. When addressing someone who's lower in Neuroticism, be open, upbeat, and positive.
People who are higher in Neuroticism generally do well as florists, writers, and accountants, while those who are lower in Neuroticism tend to succeed as police officers, lawyers, and surgeons.